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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

Essex/County Councils approve mill and paving work for a portion of County Road 20

by Sylene Argent

Last week, Essex Council and County Council each approved moving forward with milling and paving a portion of a County Connecting Link, County Road 20 – from Walnut Street to around Sunset Drive, by extending the 2022 Rehabilitation program.

  At its meeting on Monday, May 16, Essex Council approved the expenditure of $100,000 for the Town of Essex’s share of the project from unspent OCIF (Ontario Community Infrastructure Funds).

  Councillor Sherry Bondy thanked resident Shawn Mulder, who brought the idea forward, and Administration for investigating the idea seriously.

  At the February 22 meeting, Mulder approached Council about County Road 20 (King Street East) and the County of Essex Rehabilitation Program. He noted from Walnut Street to the connecting link, 100m east of Sunset Drive, this road is in need of repair.

  This road, he added then, connects to a project the County of Essex is doing this year, County Road 20, from the connecting link to Ferris Road.

  “Essentially, we will be able to get this project – that stretch – done for a third of the cost,” Mulder said then.

  On Monday, Councillor Chris Vander Doelen said he would have to vote against it, because “This is the annual attempt that is made in this Council to do an end-run around our budget process. It is a knock-down, drag-out fight every year on where we are spending our scarce resources and which roads get fixed. This is another attempt to get another road cookie in for one of the wards at the expense of the other wards.”

  He believed supporting this request would put other projects already agreed to at risk.

  He said the road needs to be done, but needs to be decided upon during the budget.

  Deputy Mayor Steve Bjorkman clarified the reason this project came up is because the County of Essex was already planning to work on County Road 20 heading out of Harrow.

  “That is the reason it is important to do it now,” he said.

  Essex Director of Infrastructure, Kevin Girard, said there is a benefit in completing this section in conjunction with the County’s work, as the Town would save on mobilization costs and would also be able to take advantage of economies of scale through the County’s procurement process.  

  “The County has agreed to conduct the work on behalf of the Town and share in the cost,” he said, adding it will be discussed at County Council on Wednesday.

  In a recorded vote, all Council members were in support of the motion, with the exception of Vander Doelen.

  On Wednesday, County Council discussed the matter. In the Report provided, it notes the County of Essex has a contract for similar work immediately to the east of the subject area, and a willing contractor, it is possible and reasonable to extend the contract to include additional work.

  “Working with local municipalities in this, and similar circumstances, will continue to encourage and strengthen cooperation,” it notes in the report County Director of Infrastructure and Planning Services, Allan Botham, prepared. “Administration supports and recommends that the County of Essex extend the 2022 Rehabilitation contract with Coco Paving Inc., and invoice the Town of Essex the appropriate share upon completion.”

  The Report notes the total estimated cost of the work is $211,000, plus applicable taxes, which includes an amount to account for the expected asphalt escalation costs.

  As King Street East is a Connecting Link, the Town of Essex will be responsible for approximately $74,000, plus applicable taxes, the County of Essex will be responsible for $137,000, plus applicable taxes.

  County Council moved to extend the 2022 Rehabilitation program to include the Connecting Link project within the Town of Essex to mill and pave King Street East, from Walnut Street to Sunset Drive , with the funds coming from the Roadway Expansion Reserve.

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